A fans group has launched a petition calling on the RFL to bring back promotion and relegation to and from Super League.
Haven Horizon, a Whitehaven supporters group, wants to see the franchise model, adopted at the end of 2008, replaced.
It states: “Since the move was made in 2009 to move to a franchise model, teams in the lower divisions have had their chances of reaching the top tier significantly reduced.
“In all the other major sports in the UK, football, cricket, rugby union, promotion and relegation exists successfully, so why has it been taken away from rugby league?”
Prior to the adoption of the licensing system, the Championship Grand Final winners were promoted to Super League in place of the side that finished bottom of the table – with the exception of Catalan, who were given protection from relegation when they finished bottom in 2006, which saw Castleford relegated from 11th place.
Two then Championship clubs – Salford and Celtic Crusaders – were added to Super League when it expanded to 14 teams ahead of the 2009 season, while Widnes made the step up in 2012, following the demise of the Welsh franchise.
Whitehaven, who earned promotion back to the second tier last season, appeared in both the 2004 and 2005 National League 1 Grand Finals, missing out on promotion on both occasions with defeats to Leigh and Castleford respectively.
The next round of licensing is scheduled to take place in 2014 ahead of the 2015 season, but there is growing speculation that the structure of the game will change prior to that date, and last year the RFL’s interim chairman, Maurice Watkins, revealed that they were looking in to re-introducing automatic promotion and relegation.
To view the petition, click here